Water main leaves City students high and dry

Jamie Worden

Having trouble finding somewhere to use the restroom? Many may have noticed the shortage of water, and in turn, rest room facilities available on campus lately. Don’t worry, City students and faculty are not alone.

The San Diego Police Department, McDonald’s, and many other businesses along B Street, C Street and 16th Ave are in our company. The city of San Diego is replacing all the old water mains in the downtown area over the next few months. It seems,however, that they have had one surprise issue after another since beginning the project.

According to a Facilities Services Officer for City College, the replacements were seemingly well-planned, with temporary mains beginning to be laid on March 20 in the evening after classes and finished sometime on March 23. These lines intended to provide the campus with working water throughout the construction process were not activated by the City until Tuesday morning, which is when workers discovered a serious problem. Due to inaccurate or outdated water line maps, City water employees failed to cap a main water line before activating the temporary lines and high pressure water went “shooting out in every direction” according to our Facilities staff.

The years of corrosion coupled with the high pressure water caused part of B street right near the City College overpass to collapse, creating an emergency water situation on the early morning of March 23.

A and T buildings were first to lose water service followed by TM, B, and M buildings. City College Administrators had no previous warning that so much of the campus would be incapacitated for most of the academic day on Tuesday and have no word yet of potential problems to come.

Students were lining up to use the bathrooms in the Cafeteria and the Library as those were two of the only buildings left unaffected. Many students were late to class or forced to miss up to twenty minutes during class because they had to walk clear across campus and wait in line to use the restroom.

Eugene, a City College custodian, was forced to be stationed at the Cafeteria bathrooms for most of the day as they had to be cleaned every half hour due to the high volume of usage.

According to Derrall Chandler, the South Region Facilities Services Officer, City College will more than likely be dealing with “no notice water shutoffs” for the next few weeks.

“This campus has already been without water at least four times for this process,” stated Derrall. He blames the inaccurate water line maps as the major problem the city water department is dealing with.

The whole replacement process is expected to take a month or more, so City students and faculty should get used to the unexpected road and lane closures on 16th Ave and surrounding campus streets. The Facilities department has said that Vice Chancellor David Umstot is talking with the City of San Diego Water Department directly to try and solve the communication and planning issues so that they can more accurately covey water and construction interruptions to the students in the future.

Donate to City Times

Your donation will support the student journalists of San Diego City College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, cover the cost of training and travel to conferences, and fund student scholarships. Credit card donations are not tax deductible. Instead, those donations must be made by check. Please contact adviser Nicole Vargas for more information at [email protected].

More to Discover
Donate to City Times

Activate Search
The news site of San Diego City College
Water main leaves City students high and dry